I feel everything. Deeply.
Have you ever felt so much that you can’t feel anything at all but you still somehow feel overwhelmed by all the too-much-ness you should be feeling? Maybe that’s the anxiety problem that I refused to face for twenty years rearing it’s head, or maybe I’m just dramatic.
I mean, when I realize another guy I could have fallen for will never love me the way I hoped and my first reaction is to tear skin apart from my bones, I’m just being a little dramatic, aren’t I? When I repeatedly ask “hello?” as I’m in my bedroom alone but know prayer isn’t a phone call and God doesn’t always answer me in ways I can comprehend, I sit motionless until my whole body goes numb because loneliness isn’t such a big deal when my own presence is lacking as well. I can chalk that up to a flair for the dramatic, right? When my hands feel empty and the callouses on them start to fade and my friends have other friends to attend to, I can feel my heart slow down and speed up and slow back down like it can’t decide if it wants to stay alive or not. But again, I’m just being dramatic.
What I can’t figure out is how people work in anything but extremes. How do their minds process life so easily? So simply? I’ve always hated the expression, “It is what it is,” but that’s only because I can’t figure out how to let things be and I don’t like that other people have.
See, if you give me a glass of wine I will want the whole bottle. I’ll beg you for it in my mind, motioning to it with my awakening eyes, please don’t make me ask for it but I will if I have to. Get so drunk with me that I forget who I am. Get me the kind of drunk where I believe I can fly, and even as I sit giggling wordlessly on your couch with tears falling from my bloodshot eyes, I’ll be content just knowing what I am capable of.
If you ever kiss me like I am somebody worthy of your time, I will douse your lips with the fire that’s been sitting dormant in my heart and I swear I won’t want to stop until the whole damn city has burned to the ground. Don’t kiss me if you can’t fall in love with me. Don’t wrap your fingers around mine because they’ll feel like snakes coiling themselves around each one and I know they’re venomous, but I kind of like the way a snakebite is a sharp sudden pain that slowly kills you and that might actually make me fall in love with you because doesn’t love do the same thing?
So please don’t pretend to fall in love with me if I’m not allowed to fall in love with you first. Don’t awaken a heart that only beats for the sound of people it can live in tandem with.
But that’s besides the point.
When you meet me, I will present to you a girl who is laid-back and sweet. I will tell you I love the sound of the ocean, but I won’t tell you it’s because to me it sounds like God’s heartbeat and I need to hear Him somehow before I fucking lose my mind. I will tell you that I am who I am and I don’t care much for what other people think of me, but that’s only because I know you’re going to be disappointed once I showcase what lies underneath my quiet exterior. I will tell you that I am easygoing because I swear I am, I swear I used to be, I swear if the time is right and I woke up to the sun shining and my clothes fit just right and I can sing in the car to my favorite songs before I get there, I’m so chill.
But don’t get me wrong, I don’t just feel the bad moments. Oh God, do I feel the good moments too. They aren’t usually the ones that are planned because those come along with too much pressure to be “good memories,” but when I’m surprised by a sudden “wow this is special,” man I feel every good thing a human can possibly feel both physically and emotionally and if there was some third option, I’d feel it that way too.
There was a time not long ago when my friend and I drove to the beach and we sang loudly in the car. I parked and she turned the radio up because we’d been waiting the whole ride there for one decent song to come on. There it appeared in those last few moments, not getting the chance to hear it if we’d gotten there a few seconds earlier; we reveled in it, taking advantage of that one chance to let go. She laughed when I forgot the words to the chorus because it went by too fast and I was too excited to keep up. I knew our whole friendship changed then, that we just crossed some sort of line into a world of real friendship and oh my gosh the possibilities were endless then. That was happiness. The transition from a good friend into somebody I don’t want to lose was what I’d been praying for for years and suddenly there it was like a gift from God had fallen right into my lap.
And even on a hot night in the middle of summer when a man made me promises that he’d quickly forgotten, he kissed me on the sand like he had been waiting for that moment all night and wow that was a good feeling I wouldn’t take back, because I’d only ever been kissed like it was a check on the list of things-you-do-when-you-like-someone and I swore I’d rather never let myself be kissed again if it was simply going to be something to do. I swore I would always be so much more than a woman with a decent enough set of qualities to keep a man company. I believed he actually meant that kiss and whether he did or not, it was enough to make the whole whirlwind of it worthwhile.
And there were all the little moments when I progressively let go of my childhood shyness for good and let it manifest itself in healthy and mature ways as I said screw it to my inhibitions about having fun at the cost of potential embarrassment. I went rollerblading with my friends and didn’t care about the teenagers sitting on the hill laughing as I barreled into the grass because I was too busy laughing at myself. I learned how to ride a horse because dammit I wanted to and I was tired of the fear that I’d carry the stereotypical “horse girl” label my siblings would mock when we were growing up. I sang even though I was completely aware that I could be heard. I went to concerts and I jumped and moved my hips and flipped my hair when I felt the drums pounding in my chest because I was tired of standing there when I didn’t want to just stand there anymore.
And those moments, those little moments where life is happy and my heart feels so big it can barely stay in my chest, I stay alive for them. I feel such a broad spectrum of emotions, too many to let one take me out for good.